Pete the Cat Fanmail and Puppet-making!

Are you a fan of Pete the Cat? With his groovy blue color and cool style, how could you not be?! Join us on Monday, December 22 at Traverwood from 2:00 to 3:30pm to make a Pete the Cat puppet and write letters to Eric Litwin and James Dean, the author and illustrator of the popular children's series. This event is intended for kids in grades K-5. All supplies will be provided!

Gravity Falls

If you haven’t seen Disney’s animated series Gravity Falls, drop everything you are doing and put a hold on a copy RIGHT NOW!

Inquisitive twelve-year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are sent to spend the summer with their great-uncle (“Grunkle”) Stan, who runs a tourist trap attraction called The Mystery Shack. While the curmudgeonly, greedy, but strangely loveable Grunkle Stan hawks his phony-baloney “mysteries” to gullible tourists, Dipper and Mabel discover real mysteries and elements of the supernatural in the surrounding Pacific Northwest woods and the strange little town of Gravity Falls.

Full of adventure and humor and creepiness and silliness and homages to such disparate things as Twin Peaks and Street Fighter, Gravity Falls is sheer genius and a show that both kids and adults will like. If you like cryptography, don’t miss the ciphers included at the end of every episode during the credits!

Adult fans of Adventure Time and Regular Show looking for new animated series should give this a try.

Jim Henson's Enchanted Sisters

Say Jim Henson’s name and what comes to mind? For some, it may be the loveable and prolific Muppets, who have starred in many movies and TV shows since their introduction in the 1950s. For others, it may be fond memories of watching Fraggle Rock or Sesame Street before school every morning. Cult film aficionados may think of the highly imaginative The Dark Crystal, or Labyrinth with the endlessly charismatic Goblin King. Wherever thoughts of Jim Henson may take you, there’s no denying that he and his company, The Jim Henson Company, has left an indelible mark on pop culture.

One of the more recent offerings from The Jim Henson Company is a chapter book series called Enchanted Sisters. It features four characters (Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer) who each have their own book and who are known as the Sparkle Sisters: daughters of Mother Nature who are responsible for the four seasons in the human (our) world. This girl-centric series is about friendship, adventure, and creativity--fans of Sofia the First and Disney Fairies should give this a try! So far only two books have been released. Look for Spring and Summer books next, well, spring and summer!

New Picture Book Roundup

Are you searching for something fun and new to read during Winter Break? Look no further than our great new picture books! We just got a bunch in and they are all wonderful. Here are some of my favorites:

Naptime: This fun book by Iris De Moüy will be a hit for anyone dealing with a reluctant napper. Through beautiful illustrations and snappy text, a whole herd of jungle animals list their extensive reasons for why they can’t nap. But have no fear! By the end of the book, all of the animals have learned how to take a proper nap.

A Library Book for Bear: Bear has seven books: three about kings and queens, three about honeybees, and one about pickles. He sees no need for any more books, but his friend Mouse is determined to show him the library. At first, Bear thinks all of the books at the library are terribly unnecessary, but a great storytime wins him over. Written by Bonny Becker, with lovely illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton, this book will delight your little library lover.

Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go: This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve seen this year. Compiled by the French design firm Crushiform, this book compares the speed of different animals, airships, boats, and more. The illustrations are simply gorgeous and the book is filled with facts. For example, did you know that an Indo-Pacific Sailfish is as fast as a Cheetah? Or that a Sphinx moth is faster than a racehorse? Learn all this and more when you check out this book!

A Possum's Tail: By Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow, this adorable book follows a young child named Sam as he goes to the London Zoo and picks up a group of possum friends. The illustrations are detailed and the rhymes in the story reminded me of Madeline. Children will be sure to enjoy this sweet story.

Herman and Rosie

The new book Herman and Rosie brought tears to my eyes when I opened it earlier this week. At once a celebration of individuality and a story of finding someone who truly understands you, this uniquely illustrated book is a story for all ages. It is obvious to readers from the beginning that Herman, an oboe-playing crocodile and Rosie, a jazz-singing doe, are meant to be together. Living in New York City, both enjoy the hustle and bustle of their busy lives, but sometimes find themselves lonely amidst the crowds. Ultimately, their lives must go through many twists and turns before their paths finally cross.

Author Gus Gordon does an amazing job of making this children’s book applicable to the young people it is geared towards but also engaging and adorable for older readers. I loved Herman and Rosie so much that I immediately bought a copy… and it’s not too late for you to add this to your holiday wish list, too!

Newbery News

The Newbery Medal is given to the most distinguished work of children's literature every year, and is announced in January. Though the real candidates are kept secret, here are some books that are getting lots of Newbery buzz on a few different mock Newbery blogs. Will one of them be the big winner? Do you have any recent books you've read that you would love to see get the Newbery medal?

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (who also wrote After Tupac and D Foster) is a lovely autobiographical book of poems chronicling her early life.

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza is the last of five books about Joey Pigza (of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key fame) by author Jack Gantos. Will Joey win the hearts and minds of the Newbery committee?

For nonfiction, people are talking about The family Romanov : murder, rebellion & the fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming. A nonfiction book hasn't won the Newbery in a long time- could this be the year?

Last, but certainly not least, is The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis. Curtis already won the Newbery Honor for 2007's Elijah of Buxton. This book is a companion to Elijah of Buxton, and tells the story of two boys who encounter a mysterious man in the woods.

Happy reading!

Animalium

If you have not yet seen this giant beauty resting on the new youth nonfiction shelf, please allow me to draw your attention to it. I know I will forever be indebted to the person who first showed Animalium to me. It is one of those rare books that is both captivating to look at and to read. Maybe I should make myself clear here, it is captivating if you enjoy learning about animals and reading facts about them. If you are expecting a great fictional story, then perhaps it would be best if you check this out for the sole purpose of enjoying the pictures. Furthermore, please don't dismiss this book because it is intended for youth, I choose to believe "youth" really just stands for "youthful" and there really is no age restriction when it comes to appreciating beautiful illustrations of wildlife.

The large colorful illustrations are wonderfully detailed and the shadowing and chosen colors give the pictures great depth. Being an amphibian girl myself, I was particularly drawn to the page including the the Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) which has "an oversize vocal sac in which it rears its young." Little tadpoles in a frog's throat never looked so pretty.

Be warned though, when I say "giant beauty" I mean bring a sturdy bag because this is no pocket book.

You may also want to check out Welcome to Mamoko or Maps, both published by Big Picture Press and with equally fascinating pictures and intriguing concepts. Or maybe this has piqued your interest about animals and now you want to learn more. Great! Here is a list of other Awesome Animal books that may help you with your research.

Charming Film of Unlikely Friendship

Based on the beloved French picture book series, Ernest & Celestine is a charming tale of unlikely friendship between big bear Ernest and little mouse Celestine.

While the other mice are all afraid of hungry bears, Celestine is a lonely dreamer who fills her notebook with sketches of bears and mice as friends. Then one day Celestine meets Ernest. Ernest, too, is an outsider, and it isn’t long before the two become friends. When a scrape with the law forces the friends to flees, they only grow closer while hiding out through the winter. Elegantly balancing lighter scenes of growing friendship and delightful comic gags with heavier scenes of the fear and prejudice that threaten to keep these friends apart, this movie offers a fresh take on a classic tale of friendship. Its gorgeous watercolor style, which gives the film the flavor of the original picture books, is another reason to watch. The animation style is like no film I’ve seen before and was definitely one of my favorite things about watching it.

This film was nominated for a 2014 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. It is rated PG for a few scary moments.

Two New, Amazingly Illustrated Picture Books for All Ages!

Two beautifully illustrated picture books have just been added to the library collection.

Before After, by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui is a wordless book that depicts amazing, related images on each of its pages. On one of the first pages is a drawing of a flower bud and on the opposite page, the beautiful daisy is in bloom. Later in the book, you see a coffee plant, and turn the page to see a steaming cup of coffee itself. I particularly enjoy the humor that subtly permeates this book. For example, on one page there is the image of an egg and on the opposite, the image of a chicken. When readers turn the page, they first see the image of the chicken, and on the opposite page the image of the egg. This is a stunning book and truly worth a perusal by readers of all types.

Telephone, by Mac Barnett and Jen Corace is a hilarious and wonderfully illustrated book about birds sitting on a telephone wire…playing Telephone. When mother mourning dove tells cardinal to “Tell Peter: fly home for dinner,” things get immediately jumbled when baseball-playing cardinal tells goose, “Tell Peter: hit pop flies and homers.” Things only get more confusing from there. I loved the individual personalities of the birds in this book, conveyed so well through Corace’s drawings. This is definitely a fun read!

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